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Cambodia aquaculture thrives amid coronavirus pandemic

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
Fishermen bring their catch to sell in the market at Prek Pnov district. KT/Siv Channa

Cambodia’s fish farming and aquaculture continue to rise in the local market despite the adverse effects felt in many other sectors in the Kingdom from coronavirus.

The announcement came as deputy director-general of the Fisheries Administration, Hav Viseth, told a local media outlet yesterday: “As fish imports from outside seem to decrease, the community’s fish farming begins to expand.”

“Meanwhile, the demand for fish in the local market continues to grow in Cambodia.”

However, Mr Viseth added this doesn’t mean the fishery industry hasn’t been affected at all by the global epidemic.

“Due to many restaurants and resorts closing, fish demand has dropped commercially, especially during the peak of the outbreak in the Kingdom,” he said.

“However, supply has begun to grow as the local demand is increasing again. Equally, many people see the potential in the fish farming industry.”

According to Mr Viseth, reports from 2019 show that the natural fish production rose to 600,000 tonnes, while the local fish farming industry yield was around 300,000 tonnes.

He added that freshwater catches yielded around 500,000 tonnes, while saltwater fish catches rose to 120,000 tonnes.

Mr Viseth said he has heard rumours that natural fish is tastier than aquaculture fishes, but he says that it is not true.

He said in fact, aquaculture fishes are more nutritious and hygienic than natural fish as the conditions are more controlled.

He urged people to continue to support local aquaculture fisheries as they are an important and sustainable source of tasty and nutritious fish.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon, has previously highlighted the significant role of fish in the local diet, explaining it is an important source of not only protein and nutrition, but also income for Cambodian people.

He said the government aims to continue expanding fish production to meet the strong domestic demand.

“A sufficient fish supply in the Kingdom results from the implementation of banning fish export announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said.

In early April, Mr Hun Sen banned all fish exports to safeguard domestic needs during the fight against COVID-19.

In March, a JICA representative met with Mr Sakhon in Cambodia over future investment by the Japanese firm in the aquaculture industry in Cambodia.

The investment would involve developing aquaculture production for export to the Japanese market in the future.

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